Mark Takano Launches New Caucus
Congressmen Mark Takano (D-CA) and Chris Collins (R-GA) launched a new House Caucus last week. The Advanced Energy Storage Caucus will offer members an opportunity to learn more about the issue and its implications for the aging U.S. electric grid, as well as offer opportunities to advance policies to help those technologies become more available and cost-competitive. "Battery energy storage is the future of renewable energy, and cheap grid scale storage means that renewables can compete with fossil fuels on cost alone," Takano said. "We must explore battery energy storage and invest in it to improve America's energy infrastructure and make our national grid more secure." The two lawmakers also introduced three pieces of legislation meant to open funding, research, and development opportunities for high-capacity batteries, largely hailed as the holy grail in the fight against climate change. The Storage Technology for Operational Readiness and Generating Energy Act (STORAGE Act) would amend a 1970s-era statute, known as the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, to include storage as one of the technologies states "must consider" in their energy and ratemaking plans. The Battery Storage Innovation Act would open the eligibility of Department of Energy loan guarantees for projects related to battery storage technologies for residential, industrial or transportation applications. The Trump administration has looked to ax the DOE loan guarantee program, arguing the financing mechanism should be left to the private sector. And the Advancing Grid Storage Act would direct the DOE establish an energy storage research program, loan program, and technical assistance and grant program for batteries. More about the bills here.